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Someone asked me the other day how I knew when God was telling me to do something specific, or to follow a certain path.

My answer was that, more often than not, I’m rarely fully sure. I have times when I think I know what God is saying, but it’s never 100% clear, and there’s always a part of me which worries that I’m just convincing myself that it is God’s voice rather than mine.

All in all, it’s a very confusing business.

***

Looking back, the times God has guided me haven’t been signposted by Damascene moments, accompanied by bright lights and a booming voice.

Instead, I can look behind me and see a series of doors which have opened for me, and some which have been closed. I see conversations with people, things I’ve heard at church and passages of Scripture all fall together into a path which I’ve followed, even though at the time I didn’t relise I was following it.

Rather than tell me from the start where I’m going, God instead seems to prefer leading me one step at a time.

The difficulty with this is that it results in a lot of uncertainty. For a lot of my journey, I don’t know where I’m going. But I think it’s partly so I remember God en route. If he was to tell me the path, tell me the destination and tell me the obstacles I’d encounter on the way, I wouldn’t need him as much. I might remember things he said, but I wouldn’t rely on him.

I’d rely on me.

By taking me through one door at a time, guiding me step by step, God teaches me to rely on him. Trust him. Follow him.

Don’t get me wrong – I’d love for him to speak louder sometimes.

But he knows what he’s doing.

***

Home is behind, the world ahead,
And there are many paths to tread
Through shadows to the edge of night,
Until the stars are all alight.
Then world behind and home ahead,
We’ll wander back and home to bed.
Mist and twilight, cloud and shade,
Away shall fade! Away shall fade!

J.R.R. Tolkien, The Fellowship of the Ring

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Doors

August 23, 2012 — 3 Comments

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

“There are things known and there are things unknown, and in between them are the doors of perception.” Aldous Huxley.

I find doors transfixing. Not all doors are as attractive as the one above, which I passed through the other day, but all doors tell stories.

Think of a door – any door, anywhere – and think of the people who have passed through it. People going through good times, and through bad times. People known, people unknown. People remembered, people forgotten.

People.

Doors can’t tell those stories, and those who know the doors can only remember pieces of the puzzle. But it’s amazing to think of the stories, heard and unheard, of those around us.

There is a value in remembering stories, in communicating, in taking time to relate with others and input into their stories.

Jesus loved stories, and he loved community. He longed to spend time with those around him, to teach them and love them by being with them. The Son of God, he knew the best way to relate and grow with others was through spending time with them, through telling stories with them, passing through the doors of life with them.

In a world in which community and fellowship is becoming more and more fragmented, this commitment to those around us and to those whom pass through the doors of our lives is beautifully counter-cultural and extraordinarily freeing.

Next time I pass through a door, that is what I will remember.